Council’s gift to Mayor’s Charity

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THE Mayor’s Charity Apeal is to get an automatic cash boost from the council.

Town hall chiefs have decided to give the fund raising a head start with an annual £10,000 DONATION after concerns the dire economic situation across the borough was affecting the ability of residents to dig deep in support. This will “take the pressure off” each new First Citizen feeling they have to compete with their predecessors to match or beat the amount of money raised.

And, they calculate, it would lead to a £5,000 saving over all, by ending paid clerical administration of the appeal by council.

But leader of the opposition Coun Gary Wilkes (Wigan Independent Network) today attacked the decision.

He said: “WIN appreciates the hard work the Mayor’s charity does but the group feels we should not be using taxpayers’ money to support what is mainly a political Labour party initiative.

“We have 65 Labour councillors. It is they who should be contributing and propping up the Mayor’s Charity not the Wigan Council taxpayer.

“Times are hard and charity begins at home.”

But Leader of the council Lord Smith said: “I am amazed at the ignorance of Coun Wilkes and his colleagues about how the Mayor’s Charity actually work.

“Each incoming Mayor chooses a local charity that they personally support and attempt to raise as much as they can during their year of office. “To try to make party political points is a slur on all past Mayors and insult to the worthy causes for which they have raised money. Would Councillor Wilkes like to identify which of these local charities have been part of a political initiative?”

Council head of service legal and risk, John Mitchell, said that sum would be given to the new Mayor during the annual Mayor-making ceremony as soon as the charity is nominated.